Archive for September, 2010

Confessions of a recovering environmentalist | openDemocracy.

Interesting article. He seems to be clinging to a somewhat dystopian view of the future because of his own shortcomings as an environmentalist. I think most environmentalists go through a stage like this. In fact, envrionmentalism has gone through a stage like this.

It’s also interesting how he frames sustainability as a “plastic” word with the goal of mitigating climate change. Since I’m on the board of the Sustainability Association of Hawaii I suppose I have an inside view on what sustainability is all about and it’s definitely not just about climate change. It’s about closing the loops, properly internalizing costs, radical efficiency, waste = food, etc…

I suppose what drew me into this movement was it’s optimism for the future. Sustainability is about solutions. It’s the 3rd wave of environmentalism as Van Jones would say:

“The first wave is sort of the Teddy Roosevelt, conservation era which had its day and then, in 1963, Rachel Carson writes a book, Silent Spring, and she’s talking about toxics and the environment, and that really kind of opens up a whole new wave. So it’s no longer just conservation but it’s conservation, plus regulation, trying to regulate the bad, and that wave kind of continued to be developed and got kind of a 2.5 upgrade because of the environmental justice community who said, “Wait a minute, you’re regulating but you’re not regulating equally, the white polluters and white environmentalists are essentially steering poison into the people-of-color communities, because they don’t have a racial justice frame.” … Now there’s something new that’s beginning to gather momentum, and it’s conservation plus regulation of the bad, plus investment in the good … beginning to put money into the solutions as well as trying to regulate the problem.”[29]

It’s a shame that the author doesn’t get his way: we can’t all take long walks in the woods and live in cabins – there’s just not enough land. I propose this is the dark side of environmentalism: people who look at society, think it doesn’t deserve saving, and grow despondent because we can’t all be farmers living off the land with our own two hands. We need to recognize, for better or worse, we are where we are and we’ll need to stop destroying nature before we truly return to it.


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The next bubble: Priming the markets for tomorrow’s big crash—By Eric Janszen (Harper’s Magazine).

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Solar Cell Production Increases 51 Percent : TreeHugger.

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Aren’t We Clever?

Op-Ed Columnist – Aren’t We Clever? – NYTimes.com.

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Is Organically Produced Food More Nutritious? : NPR.

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We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth
And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms


We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.

~ Maya Angelou ~

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Hawaii severs tie between power sales and profits – Forbes.com.

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